Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Which is to say, there is no absolute right and wrong.
There is, of course, better and worse. ...At least from any given perspective. This distinction is key, because "better" and "worse" are quite obviously inherently subjective, relative terms.
So I think the question then becomes "which perspective(s) matter most?"
Another observation to make here is that in order to accept one's actions, one must be willing to make mistakes, especially given that perpectives change with time.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today, it occurred to me that Zen has a question (well, at least one), and that it determines one's focus:
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Step 1: Wonder how so many people (meaning: non-Christians) can be so wrong about religion. Ask: if Christianity is real, why isn't it obvious?
Step 2: Wonder, if so many people can be wrong, perhaps we can be wrong.
Step 3: Wonder, can everyone be wrong?
Step 4: Observe wackadoo religious friends. Make powerful negative associations with them.
Step 5: Make atheist friends. Realize that not everyone is wrong: some people are just willing to change their minds in light of reason. Make positive associations with these discussions.
Step 6: Read Waldrop's Complexity. Discover Scientific Pantheism.
Step 7: Fall in with wackadoo Scientific Pantheists.
Step 8: Form powerful negative associations with "fellow" wackadoo SciPans. Stop associating with them.
Step 9: Watch Bullsh!t.
Step 10: Watch Mind Control With Derren Brown.
Step 11: Read Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind. Develop total man-crush. Hear, for the first time, the term "skeptic" used to describe a subculture.
Step 12: Subscribe to the Bad Astronomy blog. Hear references to "skeptics" often. In particular, the "Skepchicks".
Step 13: Develop healthy crushes on (all of) the Skepchicks. Especially one.
Step 14: Change one's website, Facebook page, and taglines to mention "and skeptic" among one's traits.
Monday, August 25, 2008
When I meet someone whom I consider a potential friend (as opposed to a passer-by), the very first thing I try to discern is if they are Republican. If they are, I move on. If they're Libertarian, I'm keeping my eye on them: chances are not good. Socialists are rare but acceptable. ; ) The next thing I try to find out is if they are Christian*. If they are, they had better be really subdued about it and open-minded to non-Christians, otherwise I'm already over them.
I should add: I don't do this by asking directly, but by looking for ancillary evidence.
Politics for me trumps religion… not sure why. Besides, most people on the right are also Xian, anyway.
Actually, I guess hygiene trumps both of them. I just don't like smelly people. Sorry, it's a personal failing of mine. So it goes.
I guess the next level of my radar would be geekdom. Do they recognize Firefly references? Do they appreciate my quote from Big Trouble In Little China?
If they pass those three (four, providing they don't stink) litmus tests, they've got a good shot of being a friend of mine. : )
(*Yes, specifically Christian. I haven't met anyone from another religion that bothered me. When I do, maybe I'll expand my list.)
Monday, August 18, 2008
At the moment, the concept upon which my teeth are gnawing is "appropriate action". This is a term that came up in the context of being in the moment: if you are truly aware, you will take appropriate action. ...This was the promise, anyway! This seems counter-intuitive, perhaps, because being truly aware requires being fully in the moment, with your thoughts focused neither on past transgressions or future possibilities. In essence, it is action without "thought", in the traditional sense. And I don't believe we (humans) are predisposed to acting appropriately without thought. Or so I fear. Rather, so go my thoughts on the matter. : )
And yet my judgment is premature, because being fully in the moment is, itself, so difficult to attain. Most of my thoughts, I have observed, are "future thoughts". Mostly, potential actions. I like to think, for example, about what I will write on my blog, or what it would be like to be a spiritual leader, or how I would defend myself against some kind of abuse, or how enjoyable it would be to get back to college, or what I'm going to draw next... Sure, I also think about past transgressions and how I might have responded to them. But I think I spend probably 65% of my time thinking about the future. One might claim that potential is my vice. : )
So anyway, what I continue to work on is being present, and watching this "appropriate action" come of it. Or not. It will be interesting to see. But I feel this is one of the tallest mountains I've yet climbed!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
A lot more could be said on this subject (like the inverse effect for pessimists), but this is a great start:
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
It seems to me that the best path is to choose quickly, but not to be attached to your decision. And that's not limited to being willing to change: it is--more importantly--not wasting your time imagining how much better the alternatives may have been.
That's very, very difficult. It's extremely easy to be disappointed.
One of the benefits of zen, it seems, is an awareness that creates satisfaction.
[thoughts derived from a TED talk]